Known internationally as one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations, Maldives has an abundance of dive sites with a unique underwater beauty to explore. The islands of the Maldives have consistently warm waters with outstanding visibility throughout the year, and consist of exhilarating dive sites such as vibrant thilas, exciting channels, coral-filled overhangs and fascinating wrecks.
Maldives’ world-renowned coral reefs play a fundamental role in food production, shoreline protection, and tourism revenue, but ocean plastic threatens the survival of shallow coral reefs. Preservation of the reefs has become more important than ever.
In 1998, a severe El Niño event resulted in unusually warm waters (3-4 °C) above normal. This caused a mass bleaching and die off of Maldivian coral reefs.
Just as recovery reached its peak, another El Niño hit. The 2015-2016 El Niño weather phenomena and associated sea surface temperature anomalies in 2016 caused one of the largest recorded episodes of mass bleaching in the Maldives. A subsequent survey of 71 sites across the Maldives conducted by IUCN found that 73 per cent of corals had undergone bleaching, indicating a severe bleaching event.
Being one of the new additions to the vast collection of resorts in the pristine South Ari Atoll, Amaya Kuda Rah Maldives had embarked on a project to restore the surrounding coral reef, which was also affected as a result of the 2016 El Niño. On acquiring the resort in mid-2016, Hayleys PLC of Sri Lanka realised the important role the island’s reef played in protecting the surrounding natural habitat. The resort partnered with Reefscapers Maldives, and commenced a coral conservation and regeneration project in March 2017.
“With the personal commitment and initiative taken by our Chairman towards this project, we introduced their artificial coral frame reef system, which have been placed successfully since the year 2001 in several resorts in Maldives. The shape of the frames reduced coral predation and sedimentation and provided a suitable substrate on to which coral could grow. In addition Reefscapers also conducts awareness training to the resort team during their visits to increase awareness and taking ownership as well on our commitment,” Michael Armstrong, the General Manager at Amaya Kuda Rah Maldives, said.
The coral frames are designed and made on the local island of Fulhadhoo in Baa atoll — a unique opportunity, started by Reefscapers Maldives, that provides employment for several local people and allows them to develop skills outside of traditional fishing. The transplantation process involves attaching coral fragments onto the metal frame, which grow and mature into new colonies. The fragments are collected from broken natural reef corals, and later harvested from own mature coral frames for the “second generation”.
In 2017, the first frames were placed on the north-east side of the reef, and the growth rate has been amazing! In just two-three weeks, the coral fragments have attached themselves onto the frame. Two months later, new coral growth was evident and fish had moved in.
Throughout the year, Amaya Kuda Rah Maldives’ on-property dive centre oversees the project. For every frame, the team at Divepoint Maldives follows a strict monitoring process, taking regular photographs of the coral growth, and identifying the marine life that starts to colonise the frames. By propagating the most successful species, the team is developing ever-more resistant coral offspring, better adapted to withstand higher sea water temperatures and so help the reefs in their fight against global warming.
“The positive impact of the project has been seen over the past couple of years in the surrounding reef, as well as for the guest experience whilst snorkelling, due to the increase in the number of several fish species brought on by the new coral habitat provided by the coral farm. The ongoing work will surely enhance the guest experience further by providing a better snorkelling experience of the reef surrounding the resort island,” Armstrong said.
Exactly two years since its inception in March 2017, the project has advanced into the second phase. With additional funding from Hayleys PLC and its subsidiary Amaya Resorts, more coral frames are being placed along the western side of the island, which will bring the number of frames submerged around the Kuda Rah island to over 70 in the coming months. The resort has plans to add even more frames to several other areas, including its main dive point and around the water villas.
The programme is also now open to sponsorship. Guests can choose the size of frame and, if they like, dedicate it to someone special or put their own name on it. The Divepoint team will build the personalised coral frame and add it to the reef ecosystem. Sponsors will receive bi-annual photo updates of their coral frame via Reefscapers’ website. Proceeds from each frame go into an environmental fund established by the resort to support its marine conservation research programmes and community initiatives.
Coral reefs are invaluable to the fishing and tourism industry — two major economic activities in the Maldives. They protect the shoreline from storm damage and help manage carbon dioxide levels. However, 60 per cent of the world’s coral reefs are estimated to be threatened due to human activity. The full extent of damage sustained by the 2016 El Niño is still unknown!
Artificial reef projects have become an invaluable tool for restoring reefs and nurturing the damaged reefs back to health. With its ambitious initiative, Amaya Kuda Rah Maldives is leading by example.
Hideaway Beach Resort unveils fitness centre upgrade with dedicated yoga space; introduces badminton
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, renowned for its commitment to providing unparalleled luxury and experiences, has announced its latest enhancements in health and wellness offerings, solidifying its position as a premier destination for those with an active lifestyle seeking a holistic and rejuvenating getaway.
The jewel in the crown of these updates is the comprehensive upgrade to the resort’s Fitness Center. Meticulously designed to cater to the diverse wellness needs of guests, the gym now boasts state-of-the-art equipment and an extension that includes a dedicated yoga space; known as the Wellness Studio. This addition provides an idyllic setting for guests to embark on their wellness journey, offering a serene atmosphere for yoga and meditation practices. The resort has also recently added Indoor Badminton courts to their offerings list so guests can sweat it out in the courts.
Hideaway guests are inspired to cleanse, restore, and energise their body and mind. To enable guests to work out on their own schedule, the Fitness Center is open 24 hours. With a variety of state-of-the-art exercise equipment including free weights, Stairmasters, stationary bicycles, treadmills, and more, guests are spoilt for choice. Additionally, thanks to the well thought out entertainment systems such as cable TV and Audio music systems, guests can keep current with worldwide news and sports or go full blast with their favourite tunes at play.
The new building also houses showers and changing facilities, so you can complete your cooldown routine at the gym without having to return to your villa. The facilities are available for all guests (children under 12 to be accompanied by an adult) to use free of charge, and our team members are on hand to help out and provide introductions to any equipment you may be unfamiliar with.
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa enhances its fitness offerings with the introduction of diverse group classes like Zumba, Tabatha, and Step Aerobics at their new Wellness Studio. These additions, led by a highly experienced Gym & Wellness Instructor, promise an engaging and comprehensive fitness experience for guests.
Hideaway is not just a retreat; it’s an oasis for sports enthusiasts. In addition to the Fitness Center upgrade, the resort has expanded its array of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. The resort’s Sports Complex also includes 2 tennis courts, 1 padel court, 1 half-basketball court, 1 beach volleyball area, 1 Golf Center which has 2 golf simulators and 1 putting green, the new Badminton Center which has 2 badminton courts, 1 soccer field, and professional assistance for various sports with the help of our Sports Master and some Pro Coaches for select sports at the resort.
Staying fit whilst holidaying at Hideaway doesn’t have to be restricted to the gym. You can jog around the beautiful, scenic island or ride the bicycles that you will be provided with at your villa.
Speaking about this new addition, Christophe Adam, the General Manager of Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, said: “Wellness and fitness travel have come a long way in recent years. Diverse guests now want a variety of benefits from their vacations and they’re looking for programmes and services that are designed to meet their short-term health needs. At Hideaway, we recognise the importance of relaxation and enjoyment. So, we are here to help our valued guests to reconnect to themselves and to prove fitness can be part of a great holiday! We are really excited by the opportunity to create a truly wellness experiences with a wide of sports activities that are seamlessly integrated into a guest’s holiday in the Maldives”.
Hideaway invites guests to immerse themselves in a world of luxury, wellness, and unparalleled hospitality. With these new offerings, the resort continues to set new standards for the ultimate retreat, where guests can rejuvenate their minds, bodies, and spirits.
Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship
Maldivian freediver Umair Badheeu has achieved a new national record with a dive to a depth of 62 meters in the bi-fin category. His accomplishment was made possible with the support of Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels, a key sponsor and advocate for Umair’s pursuit of excellence in freediving.
Competing among 14 international participants, Umair’s performance not only secured a new national record but also surpassed his previous bi-fin category record of 60 meters by a margin of two meters.
Reflecting on the challenges of transitioning from his training in Egypt to competing in the Philippines, Umair said: “Adapting to reduced buoyancy due to warmer waters and encountering jellyfish were part of the new environment.”
This marks the third national record Umair has achieved. He previously set two national records of 62 and 64 meters in the free immersion category of free diving at the Andrea Zuccari World Cup held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in October. Free immersion freediving is a discipline that requires divers to descend and ascend pulling a rope.
Umair’s switch from training in free immersion in Egypt to the bi-fin category for this tournament demonstrated his adaptability: “It felt like shifting gears, utilising distinct techniques, and returning to a more familiar discipline. This dive marks a confident depth for me, focusing not just on depth but also on refining dive times for a more enjoyable experience,” he remarked.
“Kaimoo’s support has been instrumental, offering me the freedom to train. This support has allowed me to focus on honing my skills and achieving new heights in my freediving,” Umair added.
“Umair’s third record-breaking dive this year is a testament to his exceptional skill and determination. Kaimoo is thrilled to continue supporting Umair’s journey in the world of freediving. His achievements inspire us, and we congratulate him on this impressive feat, looking for-ward to his continued success,” said Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Kaimoo’s Managing Director.
With this record-breaking achievement, Umair now looks forward to a period of rest before gearing up for the upcoming freediving season.
Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels is a leading tourism company in the Maldives that manages five properties across the country. In addition to Embudu Village and Summer Island Maldives, Kaimoo also operates Equator Village in Addu Atoll, and the Mookai Hotel and Mookai Suites in Male’.
Kuramathi Maldives and Rasdhoo Divers dive into adventure with speciality courses
Kuramathi Maldives, in collaboration with Rasdhoo Divers, is elevating the underwater experience by offering a captivating range of Dive Speciality Courses, tailored for both novices and seasoned divers alike. These courses go beyond the ordinary, immersing participants in topics such as Perfect Buoyancy, Wave, Tides and Currents, Turtle Ecology, Manta Ecology, Marine Ecology, Deep Diver Speciality, and Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality.
Perfect Buoyancy: Master the art of achieving and maintaining perfect buoyancy underwater, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable diving experience.
Wave, Tides, and Currents: Dive enthusiasts can now confidently navigate ocean dynamics, enhancing their skills in diverse underwater conditions.
Turtle Ecology: Gain insights into the captivating world of sea turtles, understanding their behavior, and contributing to their conservation.
Manta Ecology: Delve into the mysterious realm of majestic mantas, exploring their habitat, behavior, and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.
Marine Ecology: Discover the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and learn how divers can contribute to their preservation through responsible and sustainable practices.
Deep Diver Speciality: Embark on a thrilling adventure below 18 meters, gaining advanced skills for deep-sea exploration and mastering safe diving techniques and pressure management.
Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality: Unlock the secrets of the deep with Nitrox, ensuring safer and longer dives. Enhance your dive planning, elevate safety, and indulge in extended reef adventures.
These Dive Speciality Courses at Kuramathi Maldives are designed not only to enhance participants’ diving skills but also to instill a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. As custodians of the pristine underwater environment, Kuramathi Maldives is committed to nurturing a community of conscientious divers dedicated to appreciating and protecting delicate marine ecosystems.
Led by certified dive instructors from Rasdhoo Divers Kuramathi, these courses provide a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner eager to explore the underwater wonders or an experienced diver looking to expand your knowledge, Kuramathi Maldives invites you to embark on a journey of discovery beneath the azure waves.
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